Just a little under one week. That’s how long it took for an international fashion house to hit rock bottom. Dolce & Gabbana’s fall from grace proved that no one should have impunity when pushing out ill-thought marketing campaigns.
Furore from the racist-tinged #DGLovesChina (yes, the irony!) Instagram posts, has caused celebrities to voice their boycott, the cancellation of its planned Shanghai runway show and now, the removal of its products from retail sites.
This is however, not the first time that Dolce & Gabbana has courted controversy. It made headlines in 2015, when founders, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, said they oppose gay marriages and in vitro fertilisation.
In June this year, Gabbana called Selena Gomez “ugly” in an Instagram comment. He later added fuel to the fire by mocking the backlash from Gomez’s fans.
But is this the last straw for Dolce & Gabbana? Or can it rise from the ashes of its burning house? Here’s a look at what happened this week.
Eating Pizza With Chopsticks
On Nov 17, Dolce & Gabbana posted up three videos (now removed) on its official Instagram account that were meant to be a tribute to China. It was a marketing campaign to promote its upcoming Shanghai runway show.
The first video was captioned: “Welcome to Episode 1 with Dolce & Gabbana’s Eating with Chopsticks. First up today is how to use this stick shaped cutlery to eat your GREAT traditional Pizza Margherita.”
The second and third video followed the same theme, showing the model attempting to tackle pasta, and cannoli – all of them accompanied with narration pronouncing “Dolce & Gabbana” in a Chinese accent.
The next day Diet Prada, who has come to be known as Instagram’s fashion police, posted up a screenshot of a DM conversation with Gabbana where the designer disparaged and insulted the Chinese, in his reponse to the backlash.
This blew up, whereby Chinese celebrities came out saying that they will be boycotting the Shanghai runway show. Social media users from China and around the world also started to voice their concerns.
There were also calls for – and subsequently rumours – that the planned runway would then be cancelled. Models from a Chinese agency then added that they have pulled out of the show.
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As @dolcegabbana prepares to mount their next runway show in Shanghai this coming evening (7:30PM) and the rest of Instagram fawns over what’s sure to be an overly lavish “love letter” to China, we’ll be wondering if we’ll see chopsticks as hair ornaments, take-out boxes as purses, or even kimonos misappropriated as Chinese costume. Time will tell. For now, we’ll let y’all simmer on this DM between Stefano and Dieter @michaelatranova (chronology is reversed in slides). Word has it that they’re still in the process of model casting (over 200 Asian girls scheduled)…wouldn’t let them walk the show if we were their agents lol. Also, curious what the Chinese government will think of their country being called shit basically…especially considering how strict they are on who to allow to enter the country on work visas based on a thorough social media background checks. • #DGTheGreatShow #DGlovesChina #runway #fashionshow #cancelled #racism #dolceandgabbana #altamoda #rtw #dgmillennials #stefanogabbana #shanghai #chinese #china #wtf #dumb #lame #asianmodel #asian #dietprada
The Great Hack
Dolce & Gabbana released a post on Nov 21, announcing that both the label’s and Gabbana’s accounts were hacked and used to criticise Chinese people.
Gabbana himself posted up an apology, stating, “I love China and the Chinese Culture. I’m so sorry for what happened.”
A few hours before the runway show was scheduled to take place, it was cancelled. Reports point to China’s Cultural and Tourism Department, of which apparently ordered the cancellation.
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Our Instagram account has been hacked. So has the account of Stefano Gabbana. Our legal office is urgently investigating. We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts, comments and direct messages. We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China. Dolce & Gabbana 的官方Intragram 账号和 Stefano Gabbana 的 Instagram 账号被盗，我们已经立即通过法律途径解决。我们为这些不实言论给中国和中国人民造成的影响和伤害道歉。我们对中国和中国文化始终一贯的热爱与尊重。
On Nov 23, Chinese ecommerce sites began pulling Dolce & Gabbana’s products from their websites. Secoo and Yoox Net-a-Porter, which is said to be among the country’s leading luxury ecommerce platforms, announced the move.
Other sites like JD.com and Alibaba’s Tmall platform have now returned no search results for the brand’s name.
This spurred both Dolce and Gabbana to release a video of them apologising in Italian. They said, “We have always been in love with China.
“We have visited many cities, we love your culture and obviously we still have much to learn. For this reason, we apologise if we have made a mistake in the way we expressed ourselves.”
They conclude: “We will do better. We will respect all of Chinese culture.”